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Thread: letting go

  1. #1

    letting go

    Mindfulness does not mean pushing oneself toward something or hanging on to something. It means allowing oneself to be there in the very moment of what is happening in the living process—and then letting go.

    - Chogyam Trungpa, from Ocean of Dharma (Shambhala Publications)

    I was aware of the first part (being in the moment) but the second had escaped me. letting go is hard.

    gassho
    tobiishi

  2. #2
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: letting go

    Chogyam Trungpa was a drunk. A brilliant man, but a drunk...and maybe not the best guy to listen to regarding hanging onto something or letting it go (unless it's a beer).

    Yes, this is a totally useless post. For the record, I've gotten a lot inspiration from Trungpa - especially 'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism'. But it's still hard to listen to a drunk lecture you on attachment, ya know?

    Chet

  3. #3

    Re: letting go

    Hi.

    When this happens, do this.
    When that happens, do that.
    Where have i heard that before?
    The quote above implies, not only doing things mindfully "in the moment", but also to drop "one thing" for "another thing".

    And a question, what is meant by "the living process"?
    Is there anything else?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  4. #4
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: letting go

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Hi.

    When this happens, do this.
    When that happens, do that.
    Where have i heard that before?
    The quote above implies, not only doing things mindfully "in the moment", but also to drop "one thing" for "another thing".

    And a question, what is meant by "the living process"?
    Is there anything else?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Well, there's the dyin' process. Not a lot of fans of that one though.

    Chet

  5. #5

    Re: letting go

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Hi.

    When this happens, do this.
    When that happens, do that.
    Where have i heard that before?
    The quote above implies, not only doing things mindfully "in the moment", but also to drop "one thing" for "another thing".

    And a question, what is meant by "the living process"?
    Is there anything else?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Well, there's the dyin' process. Not a lot of fans of that one though.

    Chet
    Hi.

    So what you're saying that it's not part of the living process?
    How do you go through dying process (not dead yet...) without living?
    (zombiewarning on that one...)

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  6. #6
    Member miheco's Avatar
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    Re: letting go

    Your comments on dying made me smile and brought back a memory of something that Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, Rinzai monk and teacher says to his students and followers. He was Leonard Cohen's teacher, I do believe. I extracted this from the NY Times in 2007. He was 102 this April 1st.
    Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a 100-year-old Rinzai Zen master, one of the oldest in the world, who tells followers, “Excuse me for not dying.”

    Forty-five years after arriving in the United States at 55 with no English but two dictionaries tucked into his robe sleeves, Roshi, or “venerable teacher,” the honorific by which he is widely known, is still going strong, traveling from his base in California to more than a dozen Zen centers he opened or inspired around the country, ordaining priests — more than 25 to date — and challenging students with Buddhist-style tough love.

    “Enlightenment? I don’t like this subject at all,” Joshu Roshi said, speaking in Japanese through his interpreter and chuckling softly in a rare interview. “I bet you can find all sorts of different descriptions of it in the bookstore.”

    If you're interested the full article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/us/09zen.html

    Gassho

  7. #7

    Re: letting go

    "It means allowing oneself to be there in the very moment of what is happening in the living process—and then letting go."

    In my limited experience, it would seem that "letting go" is not different, and therefore not a "next step", of "what is happening". It is not ping-pong match between what is happening and my letting go. Maybe I'm nit picking, but I think it's fun. Also, there are times that "letting go" is bad... so with his statement the noobs might think they have to be nihilists or zombies. :-P

    "And a question, what is meant by "the living process"?
    Is there anything else?"

    I think he's (inadvertently) referring to time. A process is from this point in time to that point in time with stuff happening in between(many present moments!). So which moment is a person to be in his process? I would have just said "now". I feel he probably meant some kinda touchy-feely-new-age-type of Gaia-mythological-one-with-the-universe-deal... I guess. He should have just said, "Go take a walk in the park!"

    “Enlightenment? I don’t like this subject at all,” Joshu Roshi said, speaking in Japanese through his interpreter and chuckling softly in a rare interview. “I bet you can find all sorts of different descriptions of it in the bookstore.” -priceless


    Cam

  8. #8

    Re: letting go

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Chogyam Trungpa was a drunk. A brilliant man, but a drunk...and maybe not the best guy to listen to regarding hanging onto something or letting it go (unless it's a beer).

    Yes, this is a totally useless post. For the record, I've gotten a lot inspiration from Trungpa - especially 'Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism'. But it's still hard to listen to a drunk lecture you on attachment, ya know?

    Chet
    Hi Chet,

    I will disagree with you here. I think that alcoholism and other forms of addiction might just have enough of a physiological basis (or mixed psychological and physiological basis) that we have to treat the condition as a disease ... something that might be managed quite a bit by Zen or other Buddhist practice, but not necessarily cured. It is a bit like practicing Zen with cancer or diabetes or being bi-polar (Zazen might help in the treatment, and certainly won't hurt ... but the sickness is not going to be cured).

    There have been several modern Buddhist masters with addiction issues. Besides Trungpa, Maezumi Roshi ended up in a Betty Ford center, and Daido Loori smoked himself for packs a day into lung cancer. There is an excellent interview with Maezumi Roshi's student, Wendy Egyoku Nakao (now head of ZCLA) here in which she discusses that ...

    viewtopic.php?p=20863#p20863

    In my book, none of that takes away from someone's being an excellent teacher of "living with what is" and living with the human condition. People sometimes think that Buddhist practice will give one complete mastery over every human weakness and failing (yes, it will often help us see our failings as just what they are, yes, it will often help us master them ... but it will not cure every disease). The "perfect" Buddhas and Buddhist masters are all long dead guys in story books because, frankly, if you had met them in real life you would have seen the pimples, smelled the sometime bad breath.

    If the teacher is wise, he or she will use the condition to teach from within the heart of addiction ... as only a recovering alcoholic can truly understand the belly of the beast. Perhaps a sometime drunk is an excellent teacher on attachment.

    Zen practice and living the Precepts will guide us in ways to keep someone balanced ... balanced on top of the wagon. However, none of that will guaranty that one never hits a big bump and falls off the wagon. (It might help recover balance though).

    I sometimes say that what happened to Maezumi Roshi and many teachers just shows my point that, no matter how long we practice this Zazen thiing ... and no matter how much we "master" its ways and see through the "self" ... we are still "selfs" until we leave this world. It is no different for Maezumi Roshi or Trungpa ... we are always humans with human emotions that we need to manage like a hungry tiger or inner caveman ... That does not excuse acting in hurtful ways to others or oneself, but human beings act badly sometimes ... even folks who have the Precepts to guide them.

    I think I will write a "Jundo Tackles the Big Questions" on this topic of "human Buddhist Masters and their human weaknesses" soon.

    Gassho, Jundo (always perfectly who I am, trying to do what I can ... never perfect)

  9. #9

    Re: letting go

    I interpret the "living process" as being different from the mental processes in our minds... the worlds we make up and wander around in when real life is uninteresting or uncomfortable, or boring. Fantasy time.

    I wrote a poem about this a while ago, but like so many of them, I've lost it- (it may be on this forum for all I know) it put forth the idea of living each moment and then letting it go, because attachment to one moment did a disservice to all the other moments that got ignored as a consequence.

    I don't mean we should forget things we learn, but we should be able to move on.

    As for the guy being a drunk, everyone has moments of clarity- some of my best poems come from a light alcohol buzz. (Not that I'm claiming my poetry has clarity- good heavens no)

    gassho
    tobi

  10. #10

    Re: letting go

    Hi all,

    For what it's worth, I may qualify as the "sometime drunk" that Jundo mentioned above.

    There was a time in my life that I would get hammered every night and pass out on the couch rather than "face reality".
    Then I would wake up the next day and feel bad and swear off the liquor.
    As the day went on "no alcohol" became "only a couple of times a week" and by nightfall, after a hard day's work I would "deserve it".
    The cycle continued on and on and on.

    Zen practice helped me see that this very transition from saint to sinner in the span of a day is the same for every form of desire/attachment.
    Sure, alcoholism is more pervasive and demanding, but it's quite fascinating when you look the process squarely in the face and listen to your "logical" mind change its tune as the day wears thin.
    In fact, when you use this as a focus for your practice it can really help you see your thoughts for what they are.

    Soon I began to listen to my thoughts the way a cop carefully listens to a suspect's alibi. He watches the story change to suit the circumstance and this gradually erodes his trust in the truth of the tale.

    Breaking down your trust in your "internal storytelling" is powerful medicine.
    The more you do this, the easier it is to pry your mind's "fingers" off of whatever you "absolutely must have" at any particular moment in time.

    Now, I have a single martini almost every night before bedtime. If I'm travelling or caring for the kids, I just don't drink. Easy!
    (Easy now, that is)
    I refuse to give up alcohol completely because I enjoy it and becoming a teetotaler seems to me to be just another useless label to add to my personal definition of "self".
    Making such grand declarations is actually a form of ego-inflation.
    I'd rather unwind with a cocktail, thanks so much.
    And the fact that I can now just stop at one means more to me than if I had "crushed my desires" with some powerful vow.

    To be blunt, if it wasn't for my dance with the bottle I wouldn't be quite the same person nor Zen practitioner I am today.
    So in essence, I wouldn't erase my alcoholism even if I could. It is all part of who I am and to reject it would be to reject myself.

    So I'm not advocating getting hooked on booze, but I think it's unwise to completely dismiss a person's value as a teacher (or friend, or brother, or SELF!) simply for any particular foible or flaw.
    If you start coming down on yourself too hard, check out the story of Angulimala. He was the first serial killer/Buddhist!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angulimala

    Peace,
    -K2

  11. #11

    Re: letting go

    Hi Klifford,

    Quote Originally Posted by kliffkapus
    Zen practice helped me see that this very transition from saint to sinner in the span of a day is the same for every form of desire/attachment.
    Yes, exactly, that's the nature of impermanence. There's no such thing as 'cruise control' in our Practice, it requires continuous effort. Buddha one moment, Mara the next. Luckily for us it can go the other way around though, too: Mara one moment, Buddha the next. Thanks for your honest and insightful post.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  12. #12

    Re: letting go

    A lovely description of insight, Kliff. Thank you. I am going to "borrow" it. 8)

    Quote Originally Posted by kliffkapus

    Soon I began to listen to my thoughts the way a cop carefully listens to a suspect's alibi. He watches the story change to suit the circumstance and this gradually erodes his trust in the truth of the tale.

    Breaking down your trust in your "internal storytelling" is powerful medicine.
    The more you do this, the easier it is to pry your mind's "fingers" off of whatever you "absolutely must have" at any particular moment in time.

  13. #13
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: letting go

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Klifford,

    Quote Originally Posted by kliffkapus
    Zen practice helped me see that this very transition from saint to sinner in the span of a day is the same for every form of desire/attachment.
    Yes, exactly, that's the nature of impermanence. There's no such thing as 'cruise control' in our Practice, it requires continuous effort. Buddha one moment, Mara the next. Luckily for us it can go the other way around though, too: Mara one moment, Buddha the next. Thanks for your honest and insightful post.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    And yet...there's something a little sneaky about the aspect of ourselves that insists that effort is needed to 'do something'. The moment as it is, our minds as they are, our deluded natures, then become things that need to be conquered. And oddly enough, that urge to conquer is itself the deluded mind/self.

    I'm not picking on you, Bansho - because in a way, I think you were talking about something else. In my mind, it may not be so much 'effort' as 'willingness'. 'Willingness' as opposed to 'willfulness'. 'Efforting', especially in spiritual matters, is often where I start going way off course.

    What started getting me to the bench more, for instance, is when I went from 'efforting' to 'willingness'. Just...whatever shows up shows up...and yet, this is different still from just being conned into identifying with the mind as well. Other people seem to have a different problem with 'efforting' - they try to will themselves into an enlightened or other mental state. I don't see how that goes well either.

    So, just what sort of effort is this 'effortless effort' that we do?

    Chet

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